As a redhead, and someone who is always for people with ginger hair, I love learning all about our history and all the interesting facts that unite all of us lovely gingers. I have already written a post about the history of our special hair in the Western world, you can check that out here. So in this post I’ll share all the interesting facts about me… and my fellow redheads.
1. A genetic mutation causes red hair
Red hair is caused by the mutated gene MC1R. Both parents must carry the gene, that doesn’t mean they have to be redheads themselves. The gene can be passed down through generations with no ginger offspring. Both of my parents have very dark hair and olive skin, then there’s me – paler than paper with bright, bright hair. This means that you could be a carrier without even knowing it. Gingers are definitely not going extinct.
2. We don’t go grey
That’s right. Our hair doesn’t turn grey, it goes blonde. It just gets lighter and lighter until it becomes white.
3. Gingers have a higher pain threshold
Our mutant gene, MC1R, causes us to feel less pain than our non-MC1R carriers. We also need about 20% more anesthetic to stop us from waking up during surgery; my nightmare.
4. Redheads are more likely to be left-handed
Apparently, we have a higher chance of being left-handed. Not me, though, I’m right-handed.
5. We make up only 2% of the world’s population
We make up a small amount of the population, but we stand out.
6. We generally have less hair
Our hair is much thicker and coarser than people with blonde or brunette hair so it gives the impression of lots of hair, but that is not the case.
7. Redheads make their own vitamin D
Our pale skin means we are much more prone to sun damage and even skin cancers caused by UV rays, but it can also act as an advantage for us. We can’t absorb as much vitamin D as other people so our bodies produce their own in low-light. Clever.
8. Our hair is so difficult to dye
Trust me. I spent the majority of my teenage years with a different hair colour every week. The red pigment in our hair is so hard to get rid of. The only real way to remove the pigment is to bleach our hair, otherwise, it still shows through. But too much bleaching causes a lot of damage.
9. We’ve had a pretty tough time
Yep, just because of our hair colour we’ve been a constant target of suffering. I personally have been bullied and even beaten up just because I’m ginger. Hitler thought that gingers were demonic and banned the marriage between two redheads to prevent more ‘demons’ being born. We’ve been considered witches and even put to death just because of our hair. Our freckles have been seen as connections to the devil. The Ancient Greeks also believed we turn into vampires when we die, something to look forward to I suppose.
10. Scotland has the highest percentage of gingers
Scotland tops the board with 13% of its population having ginger hair, followed closely by Ireland at 10%.
11. Any ethnicity can have naturally red hair
The mutation is more common in Northern Europeans, but anyone can carry the mutation and produce lovely little ginger babies.
12. Thought to be wild and savages
This fact could go along with number 9, but when the Romans invaded England they came across the Celts. Some had red hair which the Romans had never seen before. The Romans are the ones who wrote the history we read about today and they considered the Celts as wild savages after, understandably, fighting back against the invasion. Our Scandinavian cousins also can have red hair, so when the Vikings invaded, the title of savages came too.
Be proud of your ginger hair.